With limited access because of the tall center console, I found the seat belt buckle a little difficult to access, especially in the winter with a bulky coat on. I’m sure there are quite a few Spider (and MX-5) owners that would agree with me that although the buckle is on a rigid riser, it could of been a couple of inches taller.
Well, today I received a 3″ seat belt extender from Seat Belt Extender Pros, and I am very pleased with the results. Seeing some ‘Type B’ extenders for a much lower price, I called Seat Belt Extender Pros and inquired what type of buckles are in the 2016 Miata (all years of the NDs along with the 124 Spiders use the same type), and the rep told me “the front seats have always used a ‘Type S’ (7/8″ wide) seat belt tongue and buckle configuration”. I resisted asking about the rear seats 😉
I got 10% off on a single extender ordering from their website ($17.95 @ sbepros.com with code PRO10), but I see that whlatimer found a much more inexpensive (less than $9) rigid extender, sold through Amazon. I’m keeping the already purchased extender, since return postage would cancel out most of the savings 😉
The extenders are available in various lengths (3″, 5″, 7″, 8″+ 11″), but for most people, the smallest 3″ extension (actual total length is 4.7″) puts the buckle at a very convenient height (make sure you get the rigid style). The 5″ high extender may extend past the center console. No more stabbing the seat belt tongue blindly hoping to hear that reassuring click as it finally mates with the buckle.
As an added bonus, the annoying audible seat belt alarm is permanently turned off!
Rather than having the added extension look so obvious when the seat is empty (see photo ⇓ below), and since I had a pair of padded “Fiat” shoulder pads I had previously purchased on eBay for around $8 (I felt that rather than make the seat belt more comfortable on the shoulders, they did the opposite; they are available with Abarth & Mazda logos as well), I wrapped a shoulder pad around the extended buckle assembly, secured the Velcro strip that runs the entire length of the pad, to end up with a nice finished look, as shown in the ⇑ top photo.